Unite: Construction workers & their families’ health at ‘risk’

UNITE has warned the UK Government in the ‘strongest possible terms’ that construction workers and their families are facing a public health ’emergency’.

The claim came in a statement released by the trade body, which said that the UK Government has ‘failed’ to ensure the safety of construction workers on site amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, Unite has called on ‘urgent’ contingencies to enforce safety on sites. The union continued by writing that social distancing had ‘collapsed’ on many construction sites.

The statement added that ‘immediate’ measures must be implemented to ensure that the self-employed are covered by the UK Government’s wage assistance scheme to the equivalent already announced for employees.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “There is an immediate public health emergency on construction sites, due to a lack of social distancing.

“Construction workers are currently facing a stark choice arising from negligence. That means they risk their health, or face the prospect of job loss, hardship and hunger.

“By construction workers being compelled to work unprotected and travel, the lack of government safety coordination, is risking their health, the health of their families and the health of the general public.”

Unite also revealed that it is lobbying for a seat on the Department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) coronavirus task force, to ensure it has a union voice available to speak on behalf of workers.